PROFILED | 2024 Vic Country Talent Hub

THE 2024 Vic Country summer training squad was announced last week, with 23 prospects selected from across all six applicable Coates Talent League regions – plus Metropolitan program, Oakleigh Chargers. In anticipation of their top-age campaigns, we profile each player.

>> ANNOUNCEMENT: 2024 Victorian summer training squads



AFL Academy members: 7

By age:

2006-born (top-age): 17
2007-born (bottom-age): 6

By region:

Bendigo Pioneers: 2
Dandenong Stingrays: 4
Geelong Falcons: 3
Gippsland Power: 3
GWV Rebels: 5
Murray Bushrangers: 5
Oakleigh Chargers: 1

>> ONES TO WATCH: 24 AFL Draft prospects for 2024


Archer Day-Wicks (Bendigo Pioneers)
Midfielder/Forward | 185cm | 13/05/2006

A prospect who plays with a bit of swagger, Day-Wicks catches the eye with smooth movement, a sharp left foot, and handy aerial nous. The Bendigo Pioneers product cracked a Vic Country Under 18 debut this year and showed high-end potential in his seven Talent League appearances, averaging 18 disposals, four marks and a goal per game.

Willem Duursma (Gippsland Power)
Defender | 189cm | 21/06/2007

That’s right, there’s a fourth Duursma sibling, and Willem is now well on track to not only follow the path his brothers and sister paved, but make it all the more greener. A dynamic and athletic type who is already as tall as 2023 draft prospect Zane, Willem hardly wastes a possession and has great upside in his ability to play across a variety of roles. Could be the best yet.

Jonty Faull (GWV Rebels)
Tall Forward | 194cm | 01/02/2006

There’s some serious spring in the way Faull plays, and he enjoyed a stellar back-end of the Talent League season to make good on the glimpses he showed previously. Having had stints in the ruck at 194cm, he settled up forward and booted 13 of his overall 20 goals for the year in the last four games. He also bagged four for Vic Country’s Futures and is developing nicely.

Zac Harding (Murray Bushrangers)
Ruck | 197cm | 01/01/2006

A physically imposing big man who competes well, Harding has been a part of the Country program over the last couple of years. He represented the Big V Under 16 side in 2022 before being part of the Under 17 squad in 2023, and duly graduating to the Under 18 training squad for 2024. Though strongly built and with local senior experience, he’s also decently nimble for his size and solid aerially.

Noah Hibbins-Hargreaves (Dandenong Stingrays)
Utility | 185cm | 16/11/2007

A bottom-ager with plenty of potential, Hibbins-Hargreaves had his moments while turning out for Vic Country in this year’s Under 16 National Championships. He also more than held his own playing two games on the wing for Dandenong’s Under 18s, proving clean, strong and dynamic in transition. Hibbins-Hargreaves has proven he can slot in across a range of roles, too.

Harley Hicks (GWV Rebels)
Utility | 178cm | 26/07/2007

A player who’s hard to miss on the field, Hicks has some style and flair about his play. The versatile 178cm prospect is capable of impacting at either end of the ground and even earned stints in midfield during this year’s Under 16 National Championships. He’s an evasive and creative type with ball in hand and while yet to debut for GWV, is one of five Rebels in the Vic Country hub.

Cooper Hynes (Dandenong Stingrays)
Midfielder/Forward | 188cm | 28/02/2006

Having already debuted for Vic Country’s Under 18 side, Hynes is a relatively well known quantity. He produced some big games in the middle and latter stages of the Talent League season, both hitting the scoreboard and finding a good amount of ball in his rotation. With clean skills, good size and a keen eye for goal, Hynes has some natural footballing traits to work with.

Xavier Ivisic (Geelong Falcons)
Midfielder/Forward | 180cm | 01/06/2006

Ivisic is a classy operator proved quite consistent throughout his 10 games for Geelong Falcons this year. He was a standout in wet conditions during the 2022 Under 16 National Championships and has gone on to translate his neat skills to a midfield-forward role. He’s the type of player who makes use of each possession, albeit unassuming at times, and is nearly always efficient.

Sam Lalor (GWV Rebels)
Midfielder | 187cm | 30/08/2006

A bull-like inside midfielder who has drawn comparisons to Dustin Martin, Lalor has the power, strength, and number four guernsey to back that up. He’s as clean as anyone at the contest and can bring the ball to the outside in powerful bursts, while also proving capable of hitting the scoreboard when resting forward. He’s another who has already debuted for the Vic Country Under 18s.

Harvey Langford (Dandenong Stingrays)
Midfielder/Forward | 188cm | 15/03/2006

Langford put together a stellar bottom-aged campaign with Dandenong, averaging 22 disposals and just under a goal per his 14 games. His consistency through the middle stages of the Talent League season was outstanding, standing up as a young leader in the Stingrays side. In terms of style, he’s a strong stoppage player with clean hands and the ability to impact when rotating forward.

Xavier Lindsay (Gippsland Power)
Midfielder/Defender | 182cm | 03/08/2006

Lindsay really came on towards the back-end of the Talent League season, transitioning from a running half-back/wingman to become a permanent fixture in Gippsland’s midfield. He averaged 24 disposals and five tackles across 12 games for the Power, while also proving a standout in Vic Country’s Futures win over Queensland. He’s lightly-framed but gutsy and a smooth mover to boot.

Zac McInnes (Geelong Falcons)
Key Forward | 196cm | 13/01/2006

Another imposing key position player in the Country ranks, McInnes has a solid build and the forward craft to match. He found the goals in all eight of his Talent League outings in 2023, booting multiple majors in a handful of games. A strong marking presence with good leading patterns, McInnes projects as a low-disposal but high-impact type of key forward.

Noah Mraz (Dandenong Stingrays)
Tall Defender | 197cm | 20/02/2006

Mraz is among the top Victorian talls in next year’s crop and made good on a late berth with the Vic Country Under 18s. He also built nicely into the Talent League season, taking on roles in each third of the field for averages of 11 disposals and three marks in 12 games. Perhaps most settled down back with stints in the ruck, he’s a mobile type with clean skills and good mechanics at 197cm.

Riley Onley (Murray Bushrangers)
Midfielder | 194cm | 30/03/2007

A unique prospect, Onley plays a lot of his best football as a midfielder who measures up at 194cm. He’s clean at ground level and an efficient user by hand and foot, showcasing such traits across a consistent Under 16 campaign with Vic Country in 2023. His potential was recognised with a berth in the Murray Bushrangers Under 18 side, where he played two games.

Finn O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Midfielder | 181cm | 30/05/2006

O’Sullivan is right at the pointy end in terms of 2024 draft prospects and has long been a standout having taken out the Kevin Sheehan Medal at last year’s Under 16 national carnival. He’s a wonderfully well-rounded talent with few weaknesses; able to take marks overhead, impact on the inside and outside of the contest, and possessing a booming boot. He’s also the cousin of Carlton’s Sam Walsh.

Flynn Penry (GWV Rebels)
Ruck | 200cm | 20/04/2006

Penry is a key position prospect who falls into the high upside category, as proven across his outings with GWV Rebels thus far. He debuted in the Talent League last year and played eight games in 2023, averaging 10 touches and 17 hitouts. At 200cm, he moves well and is comfortable with ball in hand, able to pick out options by hand at stoppage or clear the ball himself.

Ben Rongdit (Geelong Falcons)
Defender | 183cm | 10/05/2007

One to watch for Geelong Cats fans as a Next Generation Academy prospect, Rongdit has raw potential and plenty of athletic upside. Stationed in defence, he’s an asset on the intercept but also gets stuck in with relentless tackling pressure. That ability to create contests both in the air and at ground level has recruiters excited, especially if he can add polish and strength to his game.

Jobe Scapin (Gippsland Power)
Utility | 186cm | 01/05/2007

A versatile player who thrives in contested situations, Scapin should be able to hold his own as a bottom-ager in this group. He was utilised mostly in defence for Vic Country’s Under 16s where he tackled hard and rebounded the ball nicely, but was also swung forward at times and can go through the midfield. He debuted for Gippsland’s Under 18s in 2023, playing four games.

Tobie Travaglia (Bendigo Pioneers)
Wing/Defender | 187cm | 26/10/2006

It took little time for Travaglia to establish himself as a key member of Bendigo’s side this year after debuting as a 15-year-old in 2022. The rangy, hard-running wingman punches above his weight in contested situations and isn’t afraid to back into overhead marks, but also has enough class to carry the ball and penetrate by foot – as displayed in his shift to half-back late in the season.

Rhys Unwin (GWV Rebels)
Small Forward | 177cm | 11/10/2006

There are few small forwards with the craft and creativity of Unwin. The evasive 177cm goalsneak dipped into a deep bag of tricks this year to boot 18 goals in 14 Talent League games with the Rebels, including a high of four in Round 15. He’s the type of player who makes things happen with a sharp turn of speed, and is a nightmare to defend.

Oliver Warburton (Murray Bushrangers)
Midfielder | 184cm | 13/06/2006

A real effort player on the inside, Warburton is well versed as a midfielder but also applies his strong work ethic to the wing and half-back roles. The bustling bottom-ager featured at the beginning and end of this year’s Talent League season, averaging 18 disposals throughout a relatively consistent campaign in the lowest-ranked side.

Jack Whitlock (Murray Bushrangers)
Key Forward/Ruck | 199cm | 16/05/2006

Famous for kicking a winning goal after the siren for Vic Country’s Under 17 side, Whitlock will hope to replicate those exploits going forward. While twin brother Matt plays down back, Jack is a mobile forward who also rolls through the ruck. He’s polished and has good range aerially, perhaps a little further on in development than his sibling.

Matt Whitlock (Murray Bushrangers)
Key Defender | 197cm | 16/05/2006

Arguably the more raw prospect of the Whitlock twins, Matt is a tall defender with terrific upside. He moves so well for a player his size and while he definitely needs to fill out his frame, is able to get involved with fluent movement on the rebound. He has the scope to develop into an ideal modern day key position player with his mobility and versatility.

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